At the beginning of the year, my husband and I moved into our new house. A fixer upper. It’s a 1977 ranch that hasn’t seen much love since 1977. We were really excited to make this house our own, and had so many ideas for how to accomplish that. We knew it would be a lot of work. We thought we knew what were were getting into. But here are some things that I didn’t realize I was signing up for when we bought a fixer upper:
- That something is always broken. I knew we’d always be working on something, but I didn’t realize that meant something is always broken, inoperable, or otherwise out of commission. I imagined doing projects, and I imagined the finished results, but I didn’t imagine what it would be like to live in partially completed projects.
- That the house will often insert it’s own priorities. I had made a list of the projects that were important to me. Based on our budget and time constraints, I guessed how long it might take to get things done. I never realized that the house would present it’s own projects, like when the septic system failed or we realized (in the heat of the Texas summer) that we have NO attic insulation.
- That there would be tons of stuff the home inspector missed. This probably says more about our individual inspector than some universal truth of buying older homes. I thought I understood the limits of home inspections. I knew they could only see what they can actually see. I knew they couldn’t guess what was going on in the walls or in any other hidden place. But it seems like our inspector missed A LOT of stuff he should have been able to see. Like the lack of attic insulation I just mentioned.
- That we would regularly have to choose between regular ol’ home maintenance and “fixer upping.” We have 2,500 square foot house on two acres of land. We could easily spend an entire weekend just doing yard work and some basic home maintenance. But if we spend the whole weekend doing things that “need” to be done, when are we going to do the projects that we “want” to get done? And vice versa. It’s a constant balancing act.
I don’t regret buying a fixer upper. And I don’t think I walked in completely blind. But there are definitely challenges that I didn’t expect. Some days when I’m really frustrated, I say that we should have bought something newer and nicer, but I don’t really mean it. We have a beautiful property right in the middle of the city. I’m just looking forward to the day when I can say my home is beautiful too.